- Rumor has it the Bears will be playing in the Hall of Fame game. If there is one. Via Brad Biggs at the Chicago Tribune.
- Biggs also says that Bears special teams coach Dave Toub is unhappy about the kickoff rule changes that will start this fall:
“How much change does Toub expect on Sundays in the fall? He says half the kickoffs in the NFL could be touchbacks.
“’We’ve invested in a lot of money in Devin (Hester) and our return game and players and they’ve basically devalued that for us,’ Toub said. ‘I don’t think there is any question. You’re hurting the teams that are good in the return game and you are rewarding teams that aren’t very good in kickoff coverage. With just the rule change, they got better on kickoff coverage. To me, it’s not real fair. That’s the way it is. We’ll play it out.’”
- Jeff Dickerson at ESPNChicago.com has the order of the Bears list of needs about right: offensive line, defensive line, corner back, linebacker, wide receiver. I might reverse the last two but its debatable.
- Dan Pompei at the Chicago Tribune answers your questions about the draft. Here he concentrates upon the defensive tackles:
“If Corey Liuget and Marvin Austin are there when Chicago picks in the first round, which one do you go with and why? Shaun, Anchorage, Ak.
“I would go with Liuget in a second, and that probably explains why Liuget won’t be available when the Bears are picking. Liuget is a much safer pick, and he’s more talented. Austin could develop into a fine pro. He has the talent to be even better than Liuget. But picking him high is risky because he has been inconsistent on and off the field. Teams have more concerns about his personality and coachability than his athleticism, and the fact that he hasn’t played in a year is troubling.”
“Dan, why are we not hearing more about Drake Nevis, the DT from Louisiana State?”
“—Tony, Arlington Heights”
“Nevis would be a good fit in the Bears’ scheme. The only hesitation with him is he is a little smaller than ideal. Some teams fear he will wear down against bigger competition, and might be best suited as a wave player who takes maybe 40 snaps a game. He also had only one season of top production. For those reasons, Nevis is not considered as desirable a prospect as Liuget and some of the other top tackles.”
- “Biggs also says that you can add Pitt tackle/guard Jason Pinkston to the list of players that the Bears put through a private workout. He projects as a mid- to late-round pick.”
- Neil Hayes at the Chicago Sun-Times also has a list of Notre Dame prospects the Bears might consider.
- Michael C. Wright at ESPNChicago.com is doing a top five count down of the Bears draft steals and busts. He starts at number five with Johnny Knox and Roosevelt Williams. Wright also does an interesting interview with Williams:
“I was just young and immature. But at the end of the day, I learned the valuable life lessons that attitude will take you everywhere you want to go in life, and to be prepared when your number is called.”
- Matt Williamson at Scouts Inc. sees a lot of potential in Bears wide receiver Earl Bennett.
“Last season, Bennett caught five or more passes in a game only twice. But though he lacks a lot of home run potential, the Bears should target him more often. It goes against [offensive coordinator Mike] Martz’s nature, but a controlled passing game featuring Bennett, [tight end Greg] Olsen and running back Matt Forte with some deep shots downfield could be a winning formula, considering how strong the Bears’ defense and special teams are.”
- ESPN surveyed their NFL writers to find out who they thought the top ten coaches in the NFL were. Bears head coach Lovie Smith was about where he belongs at a respectable eight.
- Bears free agent defensive tackle Anthony Adams on younger players during the lockout via Hayes:
“It’s difficult [for them]. You don’t know what to do, nobody’s telling you what to do so you’re kind of out on your own, and you feel like you’re alone in this situation but I always give my phone number to everyone to call me if they want to. Other guys in their respective positions [do the same], so if the wide receivers are feeling some type of way, they can call Rashied [Davis], or defensive linemen they can call myself.”
- Finally, Smith talks offseason with Chicago reporters in this video. From Vaughn McClure at the Tribune:
- The Detroit Lions are on the clock at ESPN:
- So are the Minnesota Vikings:
- Speaking of Minnesota, democracy is apparently dead there. Along with the populace.
- Joe Reedy at the Cincinnati Enquirer wonders if the Bengals will end up taking Missouri quarterback Blaine Gabbert in the draft. In the process he states that the first two picks in the draft are “nearly set”. That’s news to me.
- Bob Sturm at the Dallas Morning News documents the fall of cornerback Terence Newman in 2010. Newman’s play will be a critical factor in determining the their degree of success in 2011.
- The Cowboys apparently handle their visits with players a bit differently than most teams. As far as I can tell, most teams seem handle therse visits one or two players at a time. However, David Moore, also at the Dallas Morning News reports that the Cowboys had 16 players in at once including potential first or second round picks Tyron Smith, J.J. Watt, Nick Solder, Aaron Williams, and Rahim Moore.
- Rafael Vela at the Cowboys Nation blog takes a fascinating look at how the Cowboys approached drafting offensive tackles last year.
- Ryan Grant’s car service is obviously run by a Bears fan. Via Bob Wolfley at the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel.
- Todd McShay at ESPN is releasing a new mock draft. Here are picks 1-10:
- Andy Benoit at the New York Times continues his excellent team-by-team look at what the film revealed for 2010 with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers:
“LeGarrette Blount is a budding star
“Character wasn’t the only reason Blount went undrafted. And there’s a reason the Titans cut him after training camp. Blount has little speed and struggles to change directions. That’s fine for a power runner. But Blount’s not a power runner. He’s just a runner who happens to weigh 250 pounds. To his credit, Blount broke a lot of tackles in 2010 (it was amazing the way defenders would slowly trickle off of him). But far too often he left yards on the field by bracing for contact or not pressing his holes. And he couldn’t be counted on in the passing game or short-yardage situations. It will be difficult for Blount to carve out a long-term niche in the N.F.L.”
One Final Thought
With the news that Madden Football video game will include removing players with concussions as part of the game, we have this disturbing report from The Onion on the effect of Madden upon the real players:
“Examining MRIs and PET scans of Madden football veterans, scientists discovered severely damaged neural pathways in parts of the brain associated with motivation and attention, malformations that might explain the common inability among players to perform such basic tasks as maintaining hygiene and preparing meals for themselves.”
When will E.A Sports realize that players safety must come first?